by Ken Liu
I was seven when Anna first spoke to me.
"What's that?" a voice asked. It sounded like a girl.
I was alone in my room, building a model rocket. I looked around.
I checked the radio on the shelf and the CD player on my desk. Both were off. I pulled open the
curtains to look for Dad, who liked playing pranks. The yard was empty in the summer twilight.
The voice didn't come from anywhere. She was talking from inside my head.
"Who are you?"
"Call me Anna. What's that?"
I went back to my desk. "It's a rocket," I said. I had just finished painting the body red but
hadn't attached the white fins yet.
"You're going to fly a bigger one someday?"
When adults asked you a question like that, it wasn't a real question. They laughed no matter
what you said. But Anna didn't sound like an adult.
"Yes," I said.